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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 18, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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now, okay, i mean, he's still an awful lot better than the people on the other side who are sounding like they'd rather electrify the border fence that educate the children of immigrants. i mean, gosh, if you're telling rick perry there's something wrong with educating the children of immigrants, you'd rather have totally uneducated ones? that's absurd. >> host: interesting. as an observer of 70 countries and as business editor of the economist, what lies i -- ahead? you're optimistic about america's future and how migrationnomics fits into it. what lies ahead for the world? ..
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governments. in the long term it's stifel and they have this fantastic bulge of working age people coming up much more worried about china. china has been growing very fast but i think it's going to start hitting the brakes fairly soon. the labor force has started to shrink already thinks to the one child policy. the country is going to get old before it gets rich.
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under the one child policy you have this period you have two parents with only one kid and it is a fantastic dependency ratio both parents could go after work the one kid would have for grandparents so someone to look after the baby so the mom could go to work very easy and the father as well, and that sort of power to you through the high growth period in china but when you move on a generation suddenly you've got the only child looking after the parents and grandparents and suddenly the dependency ratio flips and the society is getting much much older much faster and that will affect the dynamism and because they haven't made the transition to the democracy yet and that is another huge question because it is going to happen my argument is it will happen peacefully
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with all the influence of the chinese coming back and i hope that is true. >> thank you so much for your time. we continue to look forward to your observations around the world. >> guest: thank you very much. >> that was afterwards mack, booktv signature polemic authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers, legislators and others familiar with the material. "after words" is every weekend at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on
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"after words" on the series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. up next 24 which recounts abolitionist john brown's read on the federal armory at harpers ferry wv october 16th, 1858. mr. wright's repeated on to abolish slavery acts of violence and pro slavery kansas and how his acts of defiance contributed to the national discussion of the secession. this is about an hour. >> good evening. thank you all for coming. our thanks go to the historical museum for hosting us, tv for recording the presentation and
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especially to maggie richard said holt publishing for the arranging the return visit tony horwitz. john brown and the spark of civil war in books the familiar image the larger than life abolitionist that adorns the wall of the state capitol in topeka. brown in his mid-50s which is a bloody renegade war to end slavery that start in the territoryddñdñd at the same time late evening and on the same day october 16th as brown and his band of men did the night of the raid. horowitz rely on the archive to write about the sharply divided tension and the incident leading up to the civil war. with erie contemporary parallels midnight rise confirms history does repeat itself. the question is whether the ways justify the means.
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please help me welcome back to which wichita tony horwitz. [applause] >> thanks for that kind introduction and the historical museum. it's great to be back in wichita. this is my second consecutive book with a strong kansas connection. i don't know what that means, but i seem to be drawn to your state or of leased darker chapters of your history. i'm going to try to be reasonably brief tonight and leave lots of time for questions because this is a topic that tends to arouse a strong feeling and i like to hear those and have some discretion, so please don't be shy when i'm done. maybe if we can dim the lights a little bit for dhaka pictures. is any one near -- great to.
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i brought some pictures for your entertainment. i have to say first i had a lot of fun writing midnight rising, and one reason for that is i got to spend a lot of time in harper's ferry, which is really my kind of town. it's a very picturesque place where strange things still happen. my first research trip i was on my way to the archives and a park ranger told me there was a john brown beard growing contest going on up the street. [laughter] not a fast paced spectator sport, but still in treating. harpers ferry has also been a tourist trap almost since the day of brown's raid as i discovered in my research, and there are still sites such as the john brown museum, which you
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can see on your left, where you can learn all kind of history that never happened. [laughter] i also had fun with it might rising because the protagonists of the story, john brown, in such a vivid and compelling figure, and i think quite different from the way most americans imagine him in art and war he is often depicted as a wild fanatic, possibly in same, sort of self-appointed messiah as he appears here from the kansas state house with a rifle in one hand and a bible in the other. i've learned this morning that when kansas won the national championship in football few years ago that fans and hurled a banner with this image in place of the bible brown was clutching a trophy. [laughter] >> basketball.
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>> basketball, excuse me. my gosh. don't run me out of the state. [laughter] anyway, these kind of images aren't really true to the man beginning with that beard. for most of his life, brown was a well groomed american family man who favored staunch white shirts and dark suits and made business trips to europe. he didn't grow that famous scary beard of his until the last 18 months of his life when he went underground and needed to disguise his identity. brown also had a really classically american background, not unlike able lincoln, a figure who will come into his story at the end in a quite significant way. he is born in 1800 in connecticut by an old yankee farming stock and moves as a boy
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to the ohio frontier, where he is educated mail log schoolhouse and goes to work young and so for the first few decades, this future insurrectionist is something of a come former. he follows the path very closely adopting his calvinist belief, history of leather and he marries young to a woman brown describes as remarkable but economical of excellent character and good practical set , very romantic description of one's life. i'm sorry i don't have a picture of her read this was before the photographic days. and brown is this also tremendously self competent and ambitious man who thinks big and does everything on a big scale throughout his life beginning with family and he will
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ultimately father 20 children. i know. i come clean about having to. and the entrepreneurial spirit in the age of jackson, the 1830's, he moves from farming in to land speculation. he wants to get rich and starts buying land in the borrowing money and borrowing more and body more so the property boom goes bust in the panic of 1837 and brown is left buried in of lawsuits and debt and ultimately driven into bankruptcy like thousands of other americans in this era. the family that endures the economic hardship also has repeated charge of these. brown's first wife died young in childbirth as his own mother had done when he was only eight and of the 20 children he buried nine of them before the age of ten. and he battles that in his 40's
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from bankruptcy to become a leading merchant only to once again overreach and go bust once more. so this tremendously ambitious man enters really as a failure struggling to support this large family that has been through hard ship just as an aside when he arrives in kansas in 1855 he had 60 cents in his pocket and this is a picture of his second wife, mary and two of their young daughters. i think you can say they don't look terribly happy. but this is what i find so remarkable about brown. he has this burning passion, this conviction that sustains him throughout his trials. he's descended from puritan and believes the nation's founding
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destiny of liberty and equality can only be fulfilled through the destruction of slavery and he believes it is his god-given destiny to do the job and he groundwork until his mid-50s these penniless and known then explode onto the scene as the country to's leading antislavery warrior. there's a lot that i find it difficult about brown and the success of figure i hope part of this suspense of reading the book is how you deal with the complicated sometimes compound a man who pulled you one way and the other. but i have to say now that i'm also in my fifties i am very struck by his resilience and capacity to remake himself. what was then considered advanced age he is referred to
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in the 50's as an old man, and also this willingness to take on robot. this forces you to think about possible and it's an american story. but brown's abolitionism doesn't just come out of nowhere. i think this is another aspect of his story that is often misunderstood largely because of the gone with the wind which i've taken this a message to the aco image. i think many have the image of the pre-civil war south and its doomed society, feudal agrarian which the plantations and slavery are destined to be swept away into modernizing industrialized world and because we look back at the so-called
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old south through the prism in the civil war it has this aura of the underdog and the lost cause but to the americans before the civil war who obviously couldn't see the future, things appear altogether different. the south didn't see an underground region and in some ways a was the top dog, politically they held sway over the white house. the supreme court and much of congress. the entire era between the nation's founding and the civil war because the economy wasn't wilting in the years leading up to the civil war it was booming, an engine of the national and global economy by far as the country's largest export and slavery is also on the march exploding in states like texas and the southern leaders and the proslavery urging the nation to invade cuba in central america so they would have more land to
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plant. so you get this sense also that even though the north had the majority of the nation's population and industry it's the south that is the more this was illustrated most graphically in 1856 when the massachusetts senator charles sumner takes to the floor of the senate and gives a stinging speech about kansas and slavery and its defenders and then in the south carolina congressman preston brooks approaches him, raises his cane and beats him almost to death on the floor of the senate in plain sight and for this act he is instantly lionized in the south for, quote, lashing into submission. the senate's most vocal
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abolition. so in diaries and letters and news reports you get the sense that any feel beaten up and pushed around and bullied by what they call the slave power. there's a wonderful phrase in this era for the week northern democrats called both cases because they were in the hands of slaveholders and all three of the presidents in the 1850's fit this description and you see one of them in the political cartoon which stephen douglas, a 14 slavery down the throat while the two southern leaders tug at his hair. this really enrages brown and it's part of why he is so potent. the rear northerner in the era who punches back hard. most abolitionists are staunch pacifists. they believe in combating
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slavery to education and moral uplift and the thinks leaves are docile and inferior to fight for this is what he calls milk and water abolitionism. to him slavery is a state of the war and must be met in time and he does so of course first year in kansas and when he arrives in 1855 to join his sons have proslavery forces have the upper hand in the fight of whether kansas is going to enter the state. this is the front line in the 1850's in this conflict over slavery extension they are also called puke interestingly coming across the border into many things and sometimes killing the northern suburbs who want kansas
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in the team 56 david milledge. within two days of the shocking events, brown and leads a party including four of his sons in a raid on a settlement in the potawatomi creek in kansas and he slaughters them as his son later explains the enemy needed shock treatment. this shocking act also helped ignite a more savage why the conflict in kansas and it's at this point it becomes known as bleeding kansas and brown is in the middle of it fighting the proslavery forces and sometimes the pitched battle. i think most americans at least outside this area don't
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recognize that in 18 to 565 years before the battle of manassas you have northerners and southerners in kansas killing each other over slavery in the open field of combat with muskett and tannin. this is a preview in some ways of the civil war. but brown has always is thinking big. he wants to take his crusade into the heart of the slave holding south. he's going to lead a guerrilla army for the mountains to harpers ferry virginia and sees the armory and are still there and it's hundred thousand guns, free armed sleeves and continue through the mountains in this ruling can pan of liberation. he's quick to use the name to raise money and guns for this
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crusade so he goes east from kansas in the freedom fighter persona and really wows the abolitionists of new england who are intoxicated by this warrior a riding in the frontier. it's a little bit like the 1960's when you have the new yorkers hosting black panthers and other radicals. brown is in the lecture halls in the northeast and he dines with emmerson and rights he's the man
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nothing.
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him across the marriage in which he said hope died as i was led into my marriage bed with. [laughter] not really much to do. i had a good time with this book but that is what is going on behind the scenes but brown also has been eager to fight alongside him. he wasn't a lone gunman and the men who fought with him in kansas and leader in virginia are not suicidal they are extraordinary individuals, farmers, factory workers, blacksmiths, poets, teachers,
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fugitive slaves who share his belief that slavery must be taken on by force but there are also young men most of them in their early 20s who missed the eighth, seek adventure, spend a lot of time courting women. they are risking their lives to save the soul of the nation and they work in that line hard. i didn't expect to find much in the story but i was pleasantly surprised. there are also women in the summer of 1859 brown posing as a farmer and entrepreneur named cizik smith ranks the secluded farm house in the hills of maryland 5 miles from harpers ferry where he began discovery whose with weapons. he's also joined by his teenage daughter and he and his daughter-in-law martha brown who
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were there to act as camouflage lookouts if a passerby were neighbor approaches where there is a lot of mysterious coming and going and he treats them in the yard or on the porch and plays the part of innocent ordinary farm one man while the guerrilla fighters couple out of sight in the attic and then he writes a wonderful letter about the fireflies sleeping on a straw mat in this hideout and the thrill and tear her of being what she calls and out all girl concealing from dashing young fighter one of whom becomes her first lover. i don't mean to suggest the fun and games as the summer camp in maryland. it's not. proud of, it's tense. brown as usual has run through all his money and there's a constant risk of exposure
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particularly when the members of his band of life in maryland, slave state where they are constantly on the lookout of the fugitives and one of these men shown here he's a virginia born slave who is recently been freed when his owner moved to ohio but virginia slaves and i will just read you the little from one of her letters.
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dangerfield come this fall money or no money, she writes in the summer of 1859. if you do not get me somebody else will and all of my hope for the future. if i thought i would never see you again the earth would have no charm for me. do all you can for me which i have no doubt you will. your affection wife, harriet. he sees this plea and goes from ohio to brown's mountain hideout carrying her letters with him and finally the october of 1859 brown leads 18 of his men across the potomac and into harpers ferry, sparking the savage street battle and the first of his men gunned down as dangerfield new be shot dead in the streets 50 miles short of his goal of rescuing harriet who is sold a few months later to a slave owner in louisiana so there's a great deal at stake
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personally and collectively for the men and others caught up in this conflict. i'm not going to walk you through all the details of the raid to night or the court and prison drama that follows and the tremendous impact this has on the nation. you'll have to read the book for that. but as a journalist the headlines on the left one of the interesting things is when the telegraph is relatively new in the unlike hour own era newspapers and news wires are expanding being stored of all the time and this becomes one of the first breaking news stories in the nation. correspondents began rushing to harpers ferry almost from the moment the conflict starts and sending in by telegraph the front page news for weeks the
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story goes viral and as you can tell from the headlines it is a tremendous shock for the nation seizing this enormous armory 16 miles from the capitol declaring they're going to free every sleeve in the south jolts the nation not unlike the affect on us of 9/11 and in my view this is precisely what brown intended but militarily things don't go quite so well. brown initially succeeds crossing the bridge across the potomac into harpers ferry the compact industrial talent seizing the armory, freeing slaves from the plantation talking about 45 prominent whites hostage but his men are inexperienced and when the
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nervous readers fire shots in the night of the virginians began to awake to the invasion of their town and start to mobilize. by the afternoon of the first day the militiamen from the surrounding towns succeeded in surrounding brown and his position in the armory and at this point the reader is like a bank heist gone bad with the robbers and hostages stuck inside the bank except in this case it's not a bank, it is a brick or marine engine house you can see the first building on the left and reliever ron and his men have to shoot or negotiate their way out and meanwhile 90 u.s. marines are on their way to the scene interestingly under the command of robert e. lee and jeb stuart,
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the future generals. the story is weirdly almost a dress rehearsal for the confederacy. stonewall jackson leader appears on the scene, jefferson davis is involved, even john wilkes booth is present in the end. so i'm going to end by reading a short passage about the point in the raid and just as bad crop one of the characters i'm going to read about that it's caught in the situation with brown holds it in the engine house is a man named stevens who's a larger than life figure, he's a very tall, dark, handsome, broad shouldered man and the only member who has military training. he was a mexican war veteran who was then court-martialed for what was called in the records a drunken riot of mutiny. he said hard labor in
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leavenworth and the state and became an abolitionist fighter and joins but this rather ferocious warrior has a gentle side and in the months leading up to the rate he falls in love with a music teacher named jenny don barr great eyes with exquisite contours and the glory of dark hair [inaudible] [laughter] the way, all through the summer leading up to the raid and the mountain hideout, stevenson is dreading soulful letters to jenny declaring his love and begging her to return at savitt i'm going to read gives some sense of the intimacy of this event and the weird mix of the brutality beginning just after brown sent out one of his men as
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a peace envoy to negotiate and instead he is then seized by gunmen outside. constant seizure under the flag of truth incurred brown and enraged his lieutenant who was dangerously hot headed. the court-martial five years before had been triggered by demeaning words from the superior officer which caused him to draw his gun, declare i'm as good a man as you and threatened to blow out the officers dam brains. now harpers ferry she wanted to take violent retaliation against the captives. he was persuaded by a prominent hostage in the end and house superintendent of the armory. he and then the first in the other to the armory was in the possession of the ban. going to investigate he's held in the how to respond to
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thomson's capture he also offered to go out as a peace broker himself. brown agreed to this sending his own son as a second body guard. stevenson walked out of the armory gates who waved his white handkerchief. the men proceeded on the street the dead in the railroad which loomed. as the men had neared the proprietor smashed in the upper story window so he could shoot an obstructed and he and fellow gunmen opened fire. a moment later stevens was also struck. he fired back hit again and again he finally collapsed. lobbying and bloody in the streets he called out to miller who urged him to attend the negotiation. i have been deceived, he says. a mother who had been dragged before dawn taken hostage
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replied i wished i had remained at home. they retreated to the armory his father could do well. brown regard himself as a soldier, the rule of the battlefield conduct his hostages divide that the virginians prided themselves on their code of honor and hostages who left the envoy that they pledged to return and did so the exception was archibald cox in the firefight and finding under the circumstances he later said and took refuge in the nearby wager house hotel. i see them killed and they did not lose more water than a worker who witnessed the scene
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but stevens wasn't yet dead. after lobbying still a few minutes he began to move. he couldn't aid another lieutenant but hostage volunteers to do so. joseph gloor went in and helped stevenson to wager house and returned to captivity to read in a strange today dishonored and courage the act was on the most extraordinary. also astonishing was this fortitude that he rescued. stevens already attracted notice from the townspeople from the army and now lobbying have naked when he addressed the bonus he became a figure of all for his majestic one person wrote another described them as the finest skepticism i've ever seen. just imposing shot six times and
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surrounded by inquisitor's stevens remained composed and defiant and exposed no regret and declared himself fully prepared to die for the cause of freedom. one for many he said believe in himself stevenson ks study picture he brooch around his neck of his beloved ginny to hit written and as last letter i hope i went to see if i lovely face once more. i think i will end there. i'm not going to tell you the rest of the story. except how he survived and does indeed live to see jennie once more on the night before his execution. on that note maybe we can bring up the lights so i can see the audience and let you fire away with questions, comments, whenever. i can pretty well see you and i will repeat questions if anyone can hear them.
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>> what are you working on currently? >> nothing. don't tell that to my wife. usually you have time between when your book is finished and it comes out like nine months to a year you forgotten about it and you've moved on to something else but i've only finished the maps and end notes and extra stuff in this book and all the august so i haven't had time to think about the next thing so given my kansas proclivities' may be here i pay a finder's fee if anyone has ideas afterwards. >> john brown. angry. someone must have a question. please don't be shy. here we go.
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>> which fata has a sizable african-american population and i wondered what the response of the african-americans was to brown that the time and what sort of response you are giving to his story as you go around the country. >> it's one of the extraordinary things about brown. he is a man who lived his beliefs. he has black people at times living in his home. he stays with black people as well and what frederick douglass the famous abolitionist three weeks they become friends. he went for a time in the settlement in upstate new york so she's really quite extraordinary. this is uncommon in this day even among the abolitionists in prison he's even asked what you think about amalgamation which
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is interracial marriage he says i'm not ready for it but i prefer my daughters marry black men. he also has great political condition and he writes or rewrites the american constitution at one point to give full rights not only to blacks but to the women and he goes to canada to hold a constitutional convention among blacks in canada many of them future this leaves and during the convention they nominate positions for legislature so any of you who voted for obama very progressive in do so you are 150 years late for the party. so he really is extraordinary in that way and write about how
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there was no hint of prejudice or con and nation i think he was true to his beliefs. the second question was response going around talking. what's interesting is brown is a very polarizing figure obviously and raises all of these issues that are still with us, race, religious fundamentalism, violence, heroism, the right of individuals to oppose their government to the ends justify the means and what is interesting is almost everywhere i go i find it splits almost on the middle and i was in harpers ferry swarming with school kids and i talked to a ranger who interprets for the kids and at the end of the program they always vote on was he right to do what he did here so i guess
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that's what i've noticed the most he will get those strong opinions on both sides. come on.ñsñwñs this is a shy audience.ñçñwñçñçç >> did he ever ed denies over in disperses means? >> did brown agonize over the ends verses the means? i don't see a sign of it in his letters. he believes the thing that galvanizes him the most is passivity and what he sees in the face of what he sees is evil. it is partly his religious beliefs. it's partly his racial beliefs but i think it is also temperamental. he just can't stand, you know, the site of bullying that goes unanswered but he believes really at every stage that what he is doing is absolutely right
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and that, you know, this is the mission he has been given by god. i don't really sensed doubt about that question. to him slavery itself is a form of terrorism and, you know, to oppose evil as he has done is the right thing to do and gets up and court and says model lea's slavery the same but to fail to oppose it would be sand which is confronting to northerners many of whom opposed slavery but don't want to do anything about it. he's saying you are, too if you are not doing anything about it. what i did was not wrong but right, and if that means i have to hang for that, you know, so let it be done. and this is really in the end what gives brown so much power. this is one of the many ironies to the story to read john brown who faces himself as a man of
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action and in stark contrast all of those were just talk, talk, talk and in harpers ferry she fails as a man of action but he ultimately triumphs the power of the word in the prison and so again, he has this resilience and adaptability right to the end. everything is turned on him and okay this is my situation. i'm going to play the hand that's been dealt to me. he goes to the gallows. yeah? >> [inaudible] >> the question is what led me to write the book. it really wasn't one thing. i wrote a dozen years ago confederates in the attic that was mostly about civil war memory in the south, so i've always been interested in the civil war and while researching that i went to harpers ferry and again it's a very spooky place
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that is haunted by john brown so always to be honest with you it was the nagging of my wife. she is a historical novelist and wrote about imagining the father not louise m. alcott based on her father and as a part of this she began researching the secret six who i refer to because they come into the story a little bit and she says to me you are a civil war you need to write about these people as it is a little-known story etc and really to get her off my back i started researching them and i find them fascinating but they are not profiles in courage. when brown's raid goes bad and they are implicated one of them is already a broad, three of them flee to canada and my favorite checks himself in to the lunatic asylum to avoid
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prosecution. [laughter] i thought to these are the kind of characters my wife likes to write about but i am a little more drawn to action figures, i don't know why, and it kind of true me back in to brown and also while a lot has been written about brown i think it hadn't gotten its full -- it's a really thrilling event, and i wanted to see if i could tell that it all of its drama and the characters i've been talking about. >> can you talk about how he changed his support? >> the question about frederick douglass and how he changes his support of brown's raid and he has said in the book he's a major figure almost a problem with frederick douglass he's a great orator and writer that when you go to quote him you just want to quote the whole
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speech. it's hard to pull out a quote because he's one of our greatest orators but he's one of the first brown and discloses his plan to in the 1840's and he really wants douglas' support and douglas is struck by this man and his conviction but he doesn't think his plan is very viable but the keep of the relationship brown stays with him and keeps working right up until the end that in the mountain hideout he meets with douglas in a secret meeting in a quarry in pennsylvania and wraps his arms around douglas and says come with you after i struck the bees will swarm and i want you to help tide them and douglas just can't do it as he puts harpers ferry to him as a track of steel brown and his men are going to be caught and i think he, like others, recognize the future to sleeves in his case a
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former slave whose prospect would be particularly dim if he went along but what is interesting is he then becomes one of the great defenders after that yvette. he runs to canada but he's at least honest about it and says judged by the harpers ferry standard i and make our essential the end leader becomes the most eloquent defender and says in essence, and i kind of and the book with one of his great speeches that the nation that was so numb it needed this kind of shock and the prospect for freedom in 1859 demo until brown spread his arms and started this fight and it's really striking because he sees
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him very honest about his own doubt but he alternately comes. yeah. >> talk about the relationship with harriet tubman. >> the question is about the relationship with harriet tubman. it's amazing with the store the cast of characters who come into it as i mentioned on the southern side you have this roster of the future confederate and on the northern side you have these transcendental lists we haven't even talked about lincoln but harriet tubman he meets with her and really wants her of course because she's free experience flying across this border area planning to attack and he meets with her and things she's given full support and brown this kind of a wishful thinker. he often sees things that maybe aren't completely there and this is the case with harriet tubman
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so she's very disappointed when she doesn't appear the problem is we don't really have heard much of her own riding on this. it's a little murky. she was sick that summer and couldn't be found but brown up to the end is hoping she's going to help him because he wants to sound as revolutionary state in the mountains of the virginia freed slaves and we want tubman and douglas and others to help them pull off this revolution. what is the most remarkable thing you discover [inaudible]!x >> brown, the man? single most extraordinary thing. let's see. i talked about his resilience --
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i guess partly this is a we think in our own era we've been through so much change, the internet and all these things. it's incredible in this regard the 1800's when most people were still forming with wooden plows everything is moving. this is a pre-industrial world and by his fifties he's traveling the nation on train, sending telegraphs, having his photograph taken. this was a future shock era attacking the highly industrialized town. so partly i was intrigued or surprised by the kind of adaptation he hadn't even the when some ways he's an old-fashioned man and his religion and believes he is savvy with the new technology media in particular he knows how to play the media.
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he lets a train go from harpers ferry during the raid to spread the word. he knows what's going to happen, it will get to baltimore and the robie correspondence. he gives a very alarming message that gets out so i don't know of that was the most surprising thing but it's striking you've got the train, that the looker from all these things happening it's a really extraordinary era in american history. yes? >> [inaudible] >> it is astounding. i don't think there is any one factor. as i mentioned earlier strongly influenced by his father who was a formidable figure and one of the things about his father is
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he's a really early at the abolitionist and tolerant of made americans in ohio at a time when most are not she's an interesting progressive figure, a very forward looking. i feel that is one source of his antislavery beliefs he writes it in a letter late in his life saying he saw a boy being beaten with a shovel when he was 12 and they did begin his internal war on slavery. it's also in the calvinist believe this was a belief systems the was almost succeeded on sin and rooting out so there are many factors and as i mentioned the time, he comes of age 11 organized abolitionism is organizing but when this leave power as they call it is emerging. this is the era cotton becomes king, so he's watching this era
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and wishing slavery is on the march and no one seems to be able to push it back, so i think it is no one thing really with brown. >> yeah? sure. >> [inaudible] >> the question is about the archives of defeat. most of the research for this book was in archives which is really fun if any of you haven't done that i spent a lot of time at topeka which time one of the best repositories on papers. it's sort of like digging for hidden treasure.
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you are going through the plan also like to go to the places where history happened, and i think you can learn a lot from the landscape particularly bad place like harpers ferry where the landscape is significant for the story and hasn't changed that much. i can grasp what happened, the court house where he was tried. but i also want to. the battle in kansas and also what jack, and again i think it's very worthwhile to get a sense of -- i guess i was surprised not being from the spread of the country that kansas particularly potawatomi creek is kind of a swamp and doesn't look the way some people would manage that's one reason
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people were called puke because one theory no one really knows where this came from that they would call these people from the border region pukes is the river bottom land they peaked a lot i guess. i'm not sure but i believe the story but it is one of them, so potawatomi in particular is still a spooky place in the textile museum of john brown and the cabin his half sister lived and where he spent a lot of time so if you haven't been there i recommend -- you are lucky to be close. >> [inaudible] do you read her books and makes suggestions and as she read yours? [laughter] >> the question is whether my wife and i get to read each other's to make suggestions. we do, we work about 10 feet apart. we used to be journalists
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together and actually write stories together, but then she went to the dark side and started making stuff up. [laughter] and writing novels. so i think i am of less you sayñ to her than she is to me. i love reading fiction but i have no idea how to do it at least not intentionally. but yeah, nothing goes out of the room without. we have different styles and it's good in that sense she is a writer's writer. she's a beautiful -- i aspire towards the lean on like$ dialogue and action and keep the pace going. i try to kind of and she tries
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to encourage me to describe the feeling a little more. tell us what this person looks like. so i think we have a very productive relationship in that regard. sometimes it makes for not much to say at the dinner table what might when you've been sitting 10 feet apart from each other all day and listening allin nisha others phone conversations it's hard to see what did you do all day but we have two sons so that always keeps it interesting. >> [inaudible] she wants you to talk about the relationship with lamken. >> the question is about lincoln and another fascinating part of the story. brown had contempt forhñ politicians. he thinks they are all in bed with of the slave power.
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so he didn't even know who lincoln was set the stage. he wasn't yet a well-known national figure, so he never writes about lincoln specifically, but his raid occurs in the early period of the 1860 presidential campaign, and lincoln at this point is really a second-tier candidate in the republican field. really not well known outside of the illinois in the midwest. newspapers often get his name wrong. you know, he's kind of -- i don't know would be called as a rick santorum in the race. [laughter] second-tier. but as soon as this happens if forces everyone to take a position on brown. this is the big news of the day. lincoln uses brown as a foil.

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